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3 Belgian Chocolate Shops You Need to Try in Antwerp

By alison - January 3, 2014 (Updated: November 18, 2014)

Belgian chocolates from the Chocolate Line in Antwerp

Belgian chocolates from the Chocolate Line, in Antwerp.

Most people know the quickest way to get your chocolate fix in Brussels is to head to Sablon. But where do you go if you’re in Flanders? Today we share 3 great chocolate shops in Antwerp sure to please even the most fanatical chocolate lovers.

The Chocolate Line

If you only have time to visit one chocolate shop in Antwerp, make it the Chocolate Line. Master chocolatier, Dominique Persoone, calls himself the ‘Shock-o-latier,’ and after taste tasting a few of his creations, I can see why. His flavours include saké, cola, wasabi, chilli, Tabasco, in addition to exotic fruits like passion fruit. There are some flavour combination that just shouldn’t work with chocolate, like basil, tomato and black olives, and there is the (in)famous marijuana chocolate.

Persoone is famed for his edginess. He proudly sports a tattoo proclaiming “Chocolate is Rock and Roll,” with the Rolling Stones mouth and tongue logo. In fact, he created one of his most unique works for a Rolling Stones’ birthday party. The chocolate shooter is a tiny catapult that shoots chocolate powder up your nose. (No really… Watch the video.)

Rock and Roll - The chocolate shooter from Chocolate Line

Rock and Roll – The chocolate shooter from Chocolate Line

But The Chocolate Line isn’t all about shock value; there is true dedication to the craft here as evidenced by the client list: Oud Sluis, Hof van Cleve, Pure C, Hertog Jan and De Jonkman all use Persoone’s creations. The Chocolate Line is also one of only three chocolate shops listed in the Michelin Guide.

The Chocolate Line Antwerp's creations

The Chocolate Line Antwerp’s creations include a bust of Napoleon, a chocolate dress for Miss Belgium, chocolate pills, and chocolate sculptures of popular characters, like the Barbara Papas.

First opened in 2010, Antwerp shop is a relatively recent addition. The Chocolate Line was actually founded in Bruges in 1992. However the Antwerp shop’s setting is a far cry from the modern, edgy chocolate it sells.

It’s located on the ground floor of the Paleis op de Meir, the 18th century palace was owned by Napoleon, King William I of the Netherlands and King Leopold II. Luckily the chocolate found here is fit for royalty.

Palais op de Meir a beautiful setting for beautiful chocolates

Palais op de Meir – a beautiful setting for beautiful chocolates

Worth a taste:

  • Apero (Bitter ganache with vodka, passion fruit and lime)
  • The Bollywood (White chocolate ganache flavoured with saffron and mild curry)
  • The Tequila chocolate shooter (complete with salt and lime)
  • The Atlanta (Cola ganache with hazelnut praliné and popping candy)
  • Chocolate Lipstick (because who doesn’t want to smear chocolate this good on their lips?)

Where to find it:

the Chocolate Line
Paleis op de Meir 50,
2000 Antwerpen

Chocolatier Burie

If traditional Belgian chocolate and beautiful presentations are your cup of tea, head to Chocolatier Burie. This family run business began in Oostende and moved to Antwerp in 1960. The shop became legendary for its elaborate window displays, which change monthly.

Chocolatier Burie, Antwerp

The stunning window display at Chocolatier Burie, Antwerp

The chocolates are a mixture of traditional favourites, like Belgian praline, and new innovative takes on the classics (pineapple marzipan anyone?)

The Burie family is also known for their chocolate creations. They have had some unique commissions: a life-sized chocolate ostrich for the Antwerp Zoo, a full sized chocolate car for Opel, and a giant chocolate cabinet for a local furniture maker.

You can organize group tours to the Burie workshop for €20 per person (which includes a box of chocolates) for a behind the scenes look at the chocolate making magic.

Worth a taste:

  • Chocolate Diamonds (almost as good as the real thing)
  • Raspberry Cream
  • Pineapple liqueur

Where to find it:

Chocolatier Burie
Korte Gasthuisstraat, 3
2000 Antwerpen

Nello

The name Nello comes from the famous children’s story, The Dog of Flanders, set in Antwerp. You can find a statue of Nello, the main character, and his dog, Patrasche, on Kapelstraat. The story is huge in Japan and Korea. So much so, a commemorative plaque was placed in front of the Antwerp Cathedral donated by Toyota.

Just steps from the plaque is the Nello shop. In all honesty, I could find little information about the shop and its history on-line. I did however, taste their chocolate ode to Nello and Patrasche and it was quite tasty. It’s a convenient stop if you are visiting the Antwerp Cathedral or the Grote Markt.

chocolate Nello and Patrasche

Chocolate Nello and Patrasche by Nello Belgian Chocolates

Worth a Taste:

  • The chocolate Nello and Patrasche
  • The shop also sells Cuberdons (a traditional Belgian sweet) and Elixir d’Anvers (a famous local liqueur made from 32 different plants and herbs)

Where to find it:

Nello
Handschoenmarkt 10
2000 Antwerpen

So there you have it… eat your chocolate fill in Antwerp at these 3 chocolate shops. Know of another one we should try? Leave your favourite Antwerp chocolatier in the comments below.

Many thanks to Visit Flanders for my chocolate tour of Antwerp. As always, all opinions remain my own. 

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Alison

Alison

Big Cheese at CheeseWeb
Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of Cheeseweb.eu. She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
Alison
Cheese + Goats = My personal heaven. We discover an oasis in the cheese desert. https://t.co/Os8U86UEiX - 2 hours ago

5 comments

  1. Comment by Adriana

    Adriana January 3, 2014 at 11:14

    Gotta check them out!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison January 3, 2014 at 12:02

      Definitely! Chocolate Line is especially wonderful. The chocolate is fab and the building is beautiful!

      • Comment by Adriana

        Adriana January 3, 2014 at 15:29

        Very curious about it. I’ve been looking at photos for some time now.

  2. Comment by Someone

    Someone January 3, 2014 at 16:23

    Living in Bruges I visit The Chocolate Line on a regular basis. I am a heretic however , I don’t like dark chocolate ! *gasp* So I buy ballotins with mostly milk and some white chocolate.

    I also shop around . All well made chocolate tastes different. The choice of coacoa beans , the additives , the manufacture process all makes a difference. To a Belgian , there is no real “best” chocolate. We eat everything from posh to budget. The most expensive is really not the best by any standard. A lot of people I know swear by cote d’or when it comes to simple milk chocolate, and I have to say it really is one of the better chocolates to me too.
    As for pralines again, if you are in Belgium for a few weeks go to all the chocolate shops that have some renown and buy a ballotin of chocolates which you have the vendor fill with one praline of each kind. When eating you can split each in two and share with your better half if you’re worried about gaining weight *grinn*. Granted it will be a lot of chocolate but it will give you a clear idea what to buy later!!! You also will not miss out on some good chocolates which otherwise you would for sure! Also take pictures before cutting them in two! Your phone has memory enough to take a couple of thousand so don’t skimp! Unlike with cheap tin boxes there is no reference card included.

    You know all this Alison , but I’m commenting on this article in the hopes it benefits someone preparing for a Belgian vacation here as well.

    Chocolate Line has some very good kinds of chocolate made from beans from allover the world sold in blocks by the pound. They are not the same kind used to make the pralines with. Take some time to try them out as well.

    Depla in Bruges is also a very good shop that has an atelier next to the shop where you can see the chocolates being made. They have some very good fillings . I recommend the violet filling for example.

    Neuhaus, Leonidas , Godiva cannot be ignored either. They sell a lot of chocolate and their production is not done in the shops themselves anymore but that doesn’t make their chocolate bad at all. Leonidas , being the cheaper of them is still one of my favorite. My favorite from Neuhaus are the Tentation (milk chocolate) and the “Manon sucre” which doesn’t even have chocolate !

    All these shops have unique pralines and fillings. Like I said earlier try _all_ of them. Using the info you gather while doing that you can make up a “map” of what to buy where. Each shop will have at least one outstanding praline you will come back for. For some of you reading this comment who are in Belgium or planning to , it may be your one and only chance to taste a lot of these, who knows when you will be in Belgium again.

    Regards
    Someone.

    -If you didn’t read any of the “wall of text” above at least read this-

    !! VERY IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE NEW TO BELGIAN CHOCOLATE SHOPS !!

    1) Don’t buy prepackaged ballotins of chocolates. The vendors in those places will happily fill one up with the chocolates you want. Choosing is half the fun. I’m not saying the pre-filled ones aren’t fresh, I’m saying they will probably be half filled with pralines you don’t really want.

    2) Don’t buy pralines piece by piece. Buy 250 grams , 500 grams, or show a vendor which size ballotin you want her to fill , and specify you are going to buy by weight not by piece. She will fill it up and weigh it afterwards. Most shops have the same price per pound for all pralines except for Neuhaus where there’s 2 categories. Buying in weight doesn’t mean you can’t choose them one by one, it does mean you have to buy a box full though , not 4. Believe me , anyone can handle a 250 gram box.

  3. Comment by carrie

    carrie January 4, 2014 at 11:03

    Neu Haus do hv dark chocolate which i always buy

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